Anthony Buckeridge’s second Jennings book, JENNINGS FOLLOWS A CLUE has Mr. Carter introduce Jennings to Sherlock Holmes, who blows the boy away much as it did me at that age. So naturally, he and Darbishire set out to become the Holmes and Watson of Linbury Court Preparatory School (I had no illusions I could pull that off, just in case you were wondering). What follow are the inevitable misunderstandings and catastrophes as the boys spot crimes and thieves that don’t exist, before the equally inevitable climax in which they redeem themselves by busting a real crook. Not up to Jennings Goes to School, probably because kid detectives is such well-worn ground; fun, though, with more kid slang (I so want the opportunity to call someone a “prehistoric ruin!”) and the debut of General Melville, an Old Linburian who plays a semi-regular role in the series from then on.
TIME AND CHANCE by Alan Brennert has two alt.versions of the same man — one drowning in rage that he never left his small town, one a successful actor who misses the people he left behind — somehow meet and exchange lives only to discover, ultimately, that there’s no life like their own. I watched so many films like this for Now and Then We Time Travel — Twice Upon a Time, Quest for Love and Family Man, for instance (all covered in this post) — that this was too familiar for me to really like, even though I read it all the way through. If you haven’t read anything like this before, you might like it better.
THE WAR FILM by Norman Kagan is a small but interesting book that tackles the subject both chronologically — Great War films, WW II, Korea (Kagan sees Korean War films as reflecting America’s awareness it was now the world’s policeman) and ‘nam (the book dates from the early 1970s) and thematically (anti-war films, films about understanding our allies or enemies, war comedies). A good overview, though not deep, with some interesting observations such as the emphasis in 1950s WW II films on the burden of command.
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